Families replacing gas boilers ‘could be hit with £120 green levy’


(PA) (PA Archive)

Families replacing their gas boilers next year could be hit with a £120 green charge.

Some British boiler manufacturers are putting up their prices to cover costs of a Government scheme to promote more heat pumps.

But critics say the extra costs being passed onto consumers are higher than the costs companies are facing under the proposed heat pump scheme.

The Times newspaper reported an official complaint has been made to the competition watchdog over the increased charges, while energy secretary Claire Coutinho is said to be investigating the charges.

A government source told the paper: “We have not required any increases to the price of gas boilers. Firms should not be using government policy as a fig leaf to put further costs on consumers.”

Under the proposed Clean Heat Market Mechanism, an obligation will be placed on boiler manufacturers to meet targets for the proportion of low-carbon heat pumps they sell.

Those missing the targets could face fines, or will have to buy ‘credits’ from those meeting the target.

The quota is set to rise year on year. Some manufacturers have said that an additional cost will need to be passed onto consumers to meet any potential fines.

But critics have cast doubt on that.

“It is disingenuous for boiler firms to be claiming they need to raise their prices this year to pay for potential fines because it is a totally implausible scenario which would require the heat pump market to shrink to nothing,” Richard Lowes, a research fellow at Exeter University and policy analyst for the Regulatory Assistance Project told the Times.

“It is extremely unlikely that any firms will be fined at all next year and even if they are any charges will be a tiny fraction of the amount they are planning to charge their customers in price rises.”

“Either they are doing this to create outrage and kill off a scheme which they don’t like because it’s a long-term threat to their business model or they’re just trying to blame price rises that they would have imposed anyway on the government.”

This has been denied industry figures, who have said multiple factors could cause firms to pass on higher costs to consumers.

Some have called for a delay.

Among them are the Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA), an industry association that represents boiler manufacturers and other gas companies, which has previously called for the measure to be delayed until 2026.